Track Inks First Two Signees of 2008 Class

The top-ranked Tennessee men???s track and field team announced the signing of Ryan Beabout and Joseph Franklin on Monday. The duo is set to join the Vols in August.

???We are pleased with these strong additions to our program,??? head coach Bill Webb said. ???We still have a long time to go (to sign the rest of this year???s class) and will continue to work hard in recruiting.???

Beabout, a Wheeling, W.Va., native, helped lead his track and cross country teams to state titles in 2007 after each team earned a second-place finish at the state meet in 2006. Individually, Beabout has two state championships in cross country and a 3,200-meter state title on the track. He is a three-time cross country All-Conference honoree, as well as two-time conference and regional cross country champion. Off the track, Beabout served as class vice president his sophomore year and class president as a junior at Wheeling Park High School.

???Ryan is going to help us in cross country and in the longer distances on the track,??? distance coach George Watts said. ???I?expect him to be an immediate-impact guy for us in cross country and contend for a top-five spot next fall.???

Franklin, a native of Tallahassee, Fla., is the three-time defending state champion in the 800 and will attempt a clean sweep for his high school career in April. He also claimed the 1,600 state title on the track while breaking the state record in 2007 and then ran to the cross country individual state championship as a senior. Franklin traveled to Folsom, Calif., after his junior season and claimed the 800 title at the prestigious adidas Golden West Invitational. The Godby High School student currently boasts personal-best times of 1:50.8 in the 800 and 4:08.8 in the 1,600, as well as a 47.8 4x400 relay split.

???Joe comes to us with great range,??? Watts said. ???His strength will be the middle distances (800, 1,500, mile) and he also will compete for a top-five spot in cross country right away.?? Both of these signings are a great start to our 2008 signing class. (Current UT freshman) Michael Spooner did a great job hosting both guys and was a big reason why they chose Tennessee.???

The Vols return to the track this weekend at the Virginia Tech Challenge in Blacksburg, Va.





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